The idea for the two Faroese stamps comes from Niels Halm, director of the Nordic House in Tórshavn, and gives Posta Stamps an opportunity to play a part in the exciting world of contemporary Nordic art. Normally, only stamps by Faroese artists are released in the Faroe Islands. This time, however, the two new stamps feature a Swede’s paraphrase of a Faroese artist’s work and vice versa, making this a ground breaking joint Nordic project. The 13 kr. stamp is entitled “Mr. Walker on the Faroe Island”, and was created by the Swedish artist, Jan Hafström (b. 1937). The motif is a man turned half away from the viewer, disguised with a hat and a pair of dark sunglasses. He does not particularly look like a countryside rambler, but rather a comic figure – perhaps a detective who arrived in the Faroe Islands from the big city, wearing a chequered trench coat. He faces a typical Faroese landscape, which in fact is a section of “Favorite Campingspot”, a 2008 painting by Faroese colleague Edward Fuglø, which is owned by Tórshavn Municipality. This is a so-called paraphrase, i.e. a free interpretation of another artist’s work. Is the man frozen in an attempt to understand the grandeur of nature? Is he viewing the painting by Fuglø in a museum? Or perhaps he is honing in on one of the small houses that was the site of a recent murder he has come to the Faroe Islands to solve? We don’t know and the question will never be resolved, but it is clear that he is a stranger to the Faroe Islands, giving this ambiguous motif an eerie tension. The small, light-green houses are located between a road and a waterfall that flows milky-white over the edge of a cliff. The fell stops abruptly at a characteristic vertical cliff, as seen so often in the Faroe Islands. We cannot see the sea, because the man is blocking our view, but everyone who has experienced the Faroe Islands can envision it outside of the picture frame. When you fly to the Faroe Islands, the beautiful green, grass-covered islands suddenly appear in the middle of the giant North Atlantic. Everyone who is familiar with these fantastic islands knows how important it is to be careful not to fall over the edge of the many cliffs. The mystical man is “Mr. Walker”, Jan Håfström’s alter ego, who also shares a resemblance to his father, a travelling salesman who was often absent in his childhood. Hafström mostly saw his father from behind, as he ventured out into the world. In the summer of 2011, this “Walker” made it to the Faroe Islands during the “Cosmic Sleepwalker” exhibition at the Nordic House. Here, Hafström exhibited with Knud Odde and he created a lithograph with the motif in Jan Andersson’s graphic workshop in Tórshavn. Jan Hafström has received numerous awards and has represented his country four times at the prestigious Venice Biennale. He is considered Sweden's greatest living artist. Edward Fuglø: Egg Procession Edward Fuglø was born in the Faroe Islands in 1965. He is an imaginative, surrealistic artist who has renewed Faroese art with his original works, which are driven by equal parts subtle humour and social criticism. He lives and works in Klaksvig and is well represented at the Faroe Islands Art Museum, Listasavn Føroya. His motif for the 21 kr. stamp is a bird egg – a recurring motif in his artistic work, which includes a range of media and sometimes also comes to expression in three dimensions. It is a giant bird egg that can be seen partly as a national symbol of bird hunting, which is so prevalent in the Faroe Islands, and partly as a symbol of fertility, nature and hope for the future. The large egg is carried by a monk in a cowl, who leads a procession of three other monks in cowls. Two of the monks are holding a burning torch so close to the egg that it has become red hot – perhaps to speed up the hatching? The last monk is holding a long stick in his hand. The monks’ faces are completely covered and they seem mysterious and somehow uncanny. Edward Fuglø’s stamp motif is also a paraphrase of a work by his Swedish colleague Jan Hafström, who in the above mentioned exhibition at the Nordic House depicted these monks and also had a procession of dancers in cowls perform a dance choreographed by performance artist Lotta Melin. The cowl-clad dancers began by dancing around the Nordic House and then continued indoors. But whereas the figures in the performance carried a child’s coffin, referring to the most tragic death of all, Fuglø’s figures are life-affirming and humorous because of the oversized and unwieldy giant egg, which could hold a myriad of young birds. Thus, Edward Fulgø’s motif is a visually appealing cross-pollination of both artists’ works and a tribute to his Swedish colleague, who also paid similar tribute to Fuglø in the stamp featuring the Faroese landscape.
Issue Date: 24.09.2012
Designer: Jan Håfström & Edward Fuglø
Printer: Cartor Security Printing, France
Colours: 4 Colours
Size: 38,5 x 34,2
Values: 13Kr, 21Kr